Workers Comp Zone


Readers closely following the debate over AB5 may wish to check out a piece  by Carolyn Said in today’s San Francisco Chronicle,  “Uber bids to exempt drivers”:

The article notes that the Chronicle obtained a 19-page bill that was apparently drafted by a state legislative counsel at the request of an un-named legislator. Uber has not identified the legislator, and the article and another article on California Politico indicate that so far no legislator has stepped up to carry this alternative proposal.

The text of this alternative proposal can be accessed through the online Chronicle article noted above.

Governor Newsom has endorsed AB5, and though amendments to that bill have continued within the last week, it appears likely that it will be passed and signed. My recent post argued in favor of AB5 (see link below).

This draft floated in the Chronicle at the behest of Uber is probably a hail-Mary attempt to slow down AB5, or a preview of a coming initiative campaign, or both.

Uber’s Anthony Foxx is quoted as warning that Uber drivers would lose flexibility. As I’ve noted before, Uber has failed to explain why this would necessarily be the case. Uber threatens to hire less drivers, impose minimum hours, schedule rigid shifts and so forth. Again, this seems like a punitive approach from a company that has a track record of reckless operation and which has now hired prominent Democratic operatives (Tony West and Anthony Foxx, both of whom are Obama administration alums) to give it a patina of progressive reform.

Under the draft proposal set forth in the Chronicle article, a Driver Benefits Fund would be set up to purchase some sort of occupational accident insurance or workers’ compensation insurance.

The details on this matter. As the article notes, California workers’ comp provides a range of benefits, not all of which are covered under some “occupational accident insurance” plans. This Uber proposal is probably too little, too late.

In the coming days we should all be following this story closely.

My recent post on AB5 can be found here:

Stay tuned.

Julius Young